The Donmar Warehouse are pulling out all the stops for their new season.
We’ve all been there before: you’re new to a place or a job, and keen to make a good impression. Such is the position Michael Longhurst finds himself in, at the start of his first season as Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse. Luckily, having won plaudits for most everything he directs, Longhurst is well-equipped to thrive in the role – a feeling that simply grows when you look at the newly-announced season that will soon be gracing the Donmar.
Knowing the Donmar Warehouse well – having once slept outside overnight in order to get a ticket – Longhurst has opted for a mix of UK premieres, evergreen revivals, and diverse productions for his initial offering. Opening the new season in Seven Dials is a Longhurst-directed revival of the David Greig’s frighteningly relevant Europe (Jun 20th-Aug 10th), a play which feels remarkably fresh despite being written in 1994.
The Donmar will follow up with the UK premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ newest work, Appropriate (Aug 16th-Oct 5th). One of the most important contemporary voices in American drama, Jacobs-Jenkins is still riding a wave from An Octoroon, which won rave reviews for a run at the National Theatre recently. Appropriate explores ghosts and legacies through the tale of a family living on a former slave plantation, and if the playwright’s previous work is anything to go by, you can expect a searing look into dark histories.
Meanwhile, Alice Birch’s [BLANK] (Oct 11th-Nov 30th) will boast an all-female cast and creative team. Celebrating forty years of the Clean Break Theatre Company, each member of the cast has experience of the criminal justice system, and this full-length premiere is set to be a stirring production. Following swiftly on is another US play with a UK premiere; this time, it’s Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick (Dec 6th-Feb 1st, 2020), offering a contemporary take on Richard III. A darkly comedic high school-set interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic, the rise of a teenage despot proves fertile ground for a biting commentary on disability and power.
Last but by no means least in the Donmar’s new season is a revival of Caryl Churchill’s Far Away (Feb 6th-Mar 21st, 2020). A powerful meditation on fear and tribalism first staged twenty years ago, it returns to the Donmar in increasingly partisan times. The theatre will also invite writers including Zainab Hasan, Monsay Whitney, and Alexandra Wood to work with school and community groups, creating monologues which explore the importance of human rights as part of the Writing Wrongs project.
Happily, the Donmar Warehouse have schemes in place to help get you through the doors, like their Daily Donmar Release. A new scheme to improve access, it sees a minimum of 40 tickets made available each morning for selected performances happening a week later. The theatre’s continuing Young+Free scheme is also worth checking out; offering free tickets for those under 26, it’s allocated by ballot and funded by the generosity of the Donmar’s audiences. The new season goes on general sale on Tuesday, April 16th, and you can book Europe, Appropriate, and [BLANK] on their website (Teenage Dick and Far Away will be released later in the year). All systems go for one of London’s most revered theatres, then!
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This article was sponsored by Grand Marnier. We recommend starting your evening at the theatre with a delicious Grand Marnier Grand 75 cocktail (served with Chapel Down brut) at one of Donmar Warehouse’s Bars. 18+ only. Please drink responsibly. For all the facts, visit drinkaware.co.uk. Follow Grand Marnier on Instagram or at grandmarnier.co.uk
Also published on Medium.